New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced Jan. 8 that Chief Administrative Officer Kathy Jennings ended her tenure in county government to pursue a new professional opportunity.
Appointed by the county executive, the chief administrative officer is the county's second-in-command, with management responsibility over day-to-day operations of county government and all county departments.
“Kathy has been an exceptional leader and trusted partner as our county government has become more honest, transparent and efficient,” said Meyer. “The deep knowledge, experience and integrity that Kathy brings to her work, along with her curiosity and empathy, have focused our government on people's’ needs and improving our communities. I am sorry to lose such an effective and knowledgeable leader, and I look forward to Kathy’s work strengthening our communities in the years to come.”
“I leave county government with a deep and profound appreciation for its important mission and with pride in all that has been accomplished under County Executive Meyer’s leadership to make New Castle County more honest, transparent and efficient,” said Jennings. “Our success is driven by the more than 1,500 dedicated men and women who work literally around the clock to keep us safe, maintain critical public services and improve the quality of life for those who choose to live and work in this remarkable community. I remain committed to supporting these goals during the next chapter of my professional journey, and I look forward to sharing more about those plans in the weeks to come.”
2017 highlights under Meyer and Jennings include:
— Steps made to create financial transparency through launch of interactive county spending website.
— Initiated measures to restore fiscal responsibility and reduce the county’s growing structural budget deficit.
— Developed a collaborative strategy to combat vacant property.
— Opened the new Route 9 Library and Innovation Center and expanded literacy programs across the county library system.
— Engaged community members and other stakeholders in an effort to make new investments in parks in underserved areas of New Castle County.
— Provided new support to first responders in the fight against overdose deaths.
— Implemented an executive order establishing New Castle County services as safe and inclusive for all residents.
— Generated more than $7 million in savings of taxpayer dollars while expanding public services.
Meyer named New Castle County Chief of Human Resources Vanessa Phillips to serve as acting chief administrative officer while a search is conducted to fill the position on a permanent basis. Phillips, a former Washington, D.C., prosecutor who has been chief of human resources since January 2017, came to county government after serving for more than a year as director of administration for the Delaware Department of Labor, where she was in charge of improving operations related to human resources, equal employment opportunity and organizational management. Before that, she served in management positions for three years at the Delaware Department of Transportation, including the agency’s director of human resources.
“Vanessa’s extraordinary work reorganizing and streamlining our human resources department has produced immeasurable value for county taxpayers,” said Meyer. “I appreciate her willingness to take on the duties of chief administrative officer on an interim basis as we continue our work to build a better county government.”